August 15th, 2014

The Last Phantom

One of the last flying McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms lands at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. Though the U.S. Air Force has long since retired the F-4 from service, they are regularly pulled from storage and restored as unmanned flying targets. Though stored at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, they are converted into targets elsewhere, and so for a brief period are the crewed fighter aircraft they once were. This particular F-4 is being used as a chase plane, tailing its replacement, the Lockheed Martin QF-16: There are so few restorable F-4s left at Davis-Monthan that the military is replacing it with old Lockheed Martin F-16s, just as F-16s once replaced F-4s in active service.

Image: U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya

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